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5 stars for American Scholar by Patrick E. Horrigan #gayfiction #queerfiction #fiction #bookreview



Title: American Scholar

Author: Patrick E. Horrigan

Genre: Gay Fiction, Fiction


Book Blurb:


James Fitzgerald likes his life the way it is. He has a stable academic career teaching American literature; a comfortable townhouse in Brooklyn; a satisfying, open marriage with his partner of fifteen years; a sweet and playful young boyfriend; and a recently published, well-received novel about a famous early-twentieth-century Harvard professor. But his poise is shattered when a woman appears at a book signing bearing a surprise gift: an unsent letter from her brother Gregory, James' first boyfriend and-ever since Gregory's sudden death twenty-five years ago-the dark gravitational center of James' intellectual and emotional life. What follows is a near hallucinatory night of soul-questioning as James, wandering the streets of New York, re-examines his stormy, life-altering relationship with Gregory, a charismatic, self-destructive activist and writer and the real impetus behind James' new novel. Rapidly shifting between the late 1980s, when AIDS cut a deadly swath through the gay community, and the dawn of the Trump era where social media and political polarization threaten another kind of death sentence, American Scholar tells the story of a man driven to discover but afraid to know the truth about himself and his loves past and present.


"A haunting, complex look at love, gay history, and the passage of time." - Kirkus Reviews


My Review:


A timely novel that really works for the world we all live in today. It is fitting that this book tells a tale in two time periods. This book truly is an analysis of how the past imparts on present and how present represents past.


If you read Emerson in high school, you will have a basis for understanding the subtleties in this writing. James is a very approachable main character and at the same time, one who appears bigger than life. The key message in this book can relate to anyone, whether gay or straight.


This is a powerful addition to the queer/gay pantheon of novels. You truly may not know the impact of your past unless you attempt to re-examine it. Well written and thought provoking, this book will intrigue the intellectual reader. Worthy of wide consideration, this book would benefit anyone reading it. If you are not gay but wonder about the lifestyle and its history, then this novel will do the trick. A book so thought-provoking, it deserves more than one read. Recommended to any fan of queer/gay novels. Recommended to fans of fiction.


My Rating: 5 stars


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Author Biography:


Born and raised in Reading, Pennsylvania, Patrick E. Horrigan received his BA from The Catholic University of America and his PhD from Columbia University. He is the author of the novel PENNSYLVANIA STATION (Lethe Press), about a troubled romance between a closeted architect and a much younger gay rights activist in mid-1960s New York; PORTRAITS AT AN EXHIBITION (Lethe Press), about a young man’s search for the meaning of life amid a gallery of old master portraits; and WIDESCREEN DREAMS: GROWING UP GAY AT THE MOVIES (University of Wisconsin Press), an analysis of several popular films from the 1960s and 70s. His one-act play, MESSAGES FOR GARY: A DRAMA IN VOICEMAIL, composed entirely of answering machine messages received by the activist and socialist scholar Gary Lucek, was a critically-acclaimed hit of the Third International Fringe Festival. With his husband, the actor and writer Eduardo Leanez, he co-wrote the solo show YOU ARE CONFUSED! about the relationship between a gay Venezuelan boy and his charismatic mother. He and Mr. Leanez are the hosts of ACTORS WITH ACCENTS, a recurring variety show on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Since 1993, he has taught English at the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University. He lives in Manhattan.


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Reviewed by: Mr. N

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